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$20 Dinner

Bed-Stuy’s Stellar New Bakery Bread and Butter Is Stuffed With Savory and Sweet Delights

The beloved pop-up Back Alley Bread is now a brick-and-mortar on Rockaway Avenue.

A selection of delicious baked goods on a table.

Chocolate chip cookie ($4), pecan bar ($5), apple cider caramel donut ($4.50), coconut ube cheesecake ($7.75). (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

In March of 2020, chefs Autumn Moultrie and Brian Villanueva had no dreams of owning their own bakery. Villanueva was working in the kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Moultrie, who moved here from Las Vegas to help open The Grill, had a job at the restaurant and hospitality behemoth Major Food Group and did food styling on the side. The couple lived in Ditmas Park, and the trajectory of their lives seemed clear. 

COVID, of course, upended all that. When the pandemic hit, both found themselves out of a job, with plenty of time on their hands and, fortuitously, a sourdough starter in their fridge. "We were regular savory chefs," Moultrie told Hell Gate. "But we just started baking, baking, baking, trying stuff out, and in the building that we were living in, there were a lot of elderly individuals, so Brian started gifting everyone loaves of sourdough."  

Word of their baked goods got out through a Facebook group. Soon, the couple ramped up production; Moultrie added her pillowy, beignet-like "angel doughnuts" to the mix; and Back Alley Bread was born. Initially, it was an Instagram-driven, delivery-only service, but it eventually morphed into a pop-up in places like Purple Yam and Mallard Drake. 

"We always had an issue finding a kitchen we could afford," said Moultrie. "It wasn't like we had saved up money to open up some grand bakery, so we just started bugging random friends to use their bars and restaurants. But there came a point when it was like, maybe we should consider getting more serious about this." 

Now, we have the newly renamed Bread and Butter, an actual, physical bakery in the Ocean Hill part of Bed-Stuy which boasts an impressive array of the couple's sweet and savory delights.

Walk-ins are welcome, and there's a full coffee menu and some seating, but until Villanueva and Moultrie are able to staff up the kitchen to meet demand, pre-ordering for pickup via their website is the way to go if you want to make sure you can choose from the full menu.

Frito pie, $16. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

The Frito pie, for example, makes for a phenomenal comfort food meal. Shaped like a classic pot pie and starring a flaky crust that's actually made from Fritos, this hefty beast is filled with a zingy beef chili and melted cheddar cheese. There's also a chicken and biscuit pot pie, and a vegetarian mushroom and herb version.  

The generously topped focaccia is equally hearty and delicious, whether sold by the slice from the case (there were some French onion slabs, gooey with gruyere and gouda, still available when I was there on a recent Sunday around noon) or as a whole 14-inch by 7-inch "pie." I got the superb spicy tomato salami focaccia in the latter size, and I'm still happily reheating slices in the air fryer at home. 

Spicy tomato salami focaccia, $18. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

For a snackier savory treat, both of Bread and Butter's curry-crusted hand pies, either the beef and cheese or the cauliflower and mushroom, really hit the spot. 

Beef and cheese hand pie and and cauliflower and mushroom hand pie, $7 each. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

The sweets here are also excellent all around. There's a textbook brown butter chocolate chip cookie, a chewy pecan bar, a brioche-y honey bun, and a heavenly apple cider caramel yeast doughnut that's guaranteed to make a mess of your face. But for a real, fancy-ish dessert dessert, order a slice of the incredibly good, improbably fluffy coconut and ube cheesecake. The duo really flex their fine-dining chops with this beauty. 

Honey bun, $5. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

"Our menu's kind of funky," said Moultrie. "We're not your typical bakery. It's definitely a nostalgic love letter to our childhood, mixed in with our restaurant experience. We just try to make good food, and make people happy."      

The apple cider caramel donut ($4.50), pecan bar ($5), and coconut ube cheesecake ($7.75). (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

In addition to expanding Bread and Butter's days and hours going forward, Villanueva and Moultrie, who now live in Bed-Stuy, hope to serve their new neighborhood in ways beyond simply selling pretty doughnuts and delicious loaves of bread. Hosting free baking classes is one of their ideas; stocking a grab-n-go case with salads and such, given away to people experiencing food insecurity, is another.

"I just think it's really important to be a good neighbor. We're working on all of that programming because we don't want to just be an Instagram-famous bakery, or strive to be viral, and have a huge line out front," said Moultrie. "We want to really be part of the community." 

(Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Bread and Butter is located at 53 Rockaway Avenue, between Marion and Sumpter Streets, and is currently open for walk-ins and pick-ups on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. until it’s sold out. For the best selection, pre-order online.    

(Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)
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